We have it on good authority that most of our readers are impossibly attractive self-made millionaires, but on the off chance you've ever had to look for a job, you're well aware of what an awful process it is. As annoying as it is to spend hours crafting a flawless resume, only to have it thrown out by a robot because you omitted some vital keyword, it's all somehow worse than you know. For example ...
A criminal record of any kind is right up there with "quit my last job by shitting on the boss's desk." But many employment applications ask about it right upfront, meaning your application might get thrown out before ever being seen by a human. It's pointless to lie about it, because once the background check comes in, your resume goes right in the garbage anyway. Of course, it is an individual employer's right to make that judgment call, but it's also one reason that prisons have revolving doors. Once you commit a crime, you're all but obligated to commit more, since it's so hard to make a living honestly. It's like eating potato chips, but against your will and even worse for your health.
One way governments have tried to end the cycle of criminality is by "banning the box." These laws prohibit employers from asking applicants whether they have a criminal record on their application -- the idea being that learning a name and face will soften employers' hearts. Obviously, it has not worked out that way. Without an easy way to figure who has a record, employers assume it's "all the black ones." One study found that after New Jersey and New York City passed laws "banning the box," the racial gap in callbacks for interviews went from 7 percent to 45 percent. In a country where white people now get excellent jobs doing what untold numbers of young black people have gone to prison for, we wish we were surprised.
If you ask a recruiter, they'll tell you that you shouldn't ever provide a prospective employer with information about your previous salary. That's because if said previous salary was quite a bit lower than what they normally pay, employers know they can offer you less than they might otherwise. Unfortunately, many employers now ask about your previous or desired salary on applications, and hence won't even let you submit without shooting yourself in the foot. Asking for previous salaries hurts employees so much that some states, like Massachusetts, have made doing so illegal. They still haven't done anything about Mark Wahlberg and toll roads, but you know, baby steps.
If you get lowballed early in your career, you'll likely always be making less than you deserve. Since many raises are percentage-based, one substandard salary could mean you'll be forever stuck earning less than you should. This obviously hurts women and minorities most, as they are more likely to be paid less than they're worth to begin with. It doesn't even help to move to a different company, since they'll probably ask about your current salary. It's an infinite ripoff train, and you're the caboose.
The seemingly ideal interview situation is one conducted by the candidate's potential supervisor, as they'll know best what they need. But this can backfire, because said supervisor may not have final say over the decision. If they recommend against hiring you and you're hired anyway, you're in for a circle of Hell you didn't even know existed. Studies have shown that if an employee ends up working under a supervisor who rejected them, they are almost guaranteed to get a negative yearly review, not to mention a potentially hostile work environment and difficulty getting a good recommendation in the future.
Conversely, if an employee's supervisor does recommend them to be hired, they're almost guaranteed to get a positive yearly review. This might be good for the employee, but there's potential there for a bad employee to continue getting positive reviews because their supervisor is eternally trying to justify hiring them in the first place. It turns out humans are so desperate to be right that they'll happily accept any number of workplace accidents simply because Fingerless Chad had a nice suit.
A job hunt usually starts with sending out a resume before you even get a chance to talk to a human. Thus, what that document contains must be impressive if it is to survive the robotic purge of the great applicant sorting machine. That's where companies like CareerExcuse come in. For only around a hundred smackers, they'll do anything from impersonate your landlord to forge shell companies, complete with their own receptionists and Google Map entries. Since there's nothing illegal about lying on your resume, there's nothing companies can do ... other than fire you.
Many employers outsource the checking of references to third parties, which send form letters to the listed references, making it easy for companies like CareerExcuse to rubber-stamp the candidate. Sure, a quick Google search for "Totally Real Corporation Where Kyle Acquired Many Years of Relevant Experience, Inc." would reveal the fabrication, but that might cut into the HR manager's busy afternoon of Candy Crush and discriminating against black people. Those who actually did check resumes found that more than half of them contained lies. Have fun competing against that, sucker.
Job interviews are the most uniquely humiliating human experience outside of certain webcam productions. You dress up in silly clothes, wait for the receptionist to look up from their game of solitaire long enough to call your name, and then a prospective employer asks you a series of the most inane questions possible within spoken language. But are those questions really pointless?
Yes, they are.
Sorry for the fakeout. They're totally useless.
The standard interview, wherein an employer asks a series of open-ended questions to gauge whether you're the "best person for the job," is in fact a bad way of gaining any useful information about a candidate. Researchers at Michigan State University have over 85 years' worth of employer data, and they found that the traditional interview model is about as useful as picking employees with a dice roll.
So what truly works? Weirdly enough, those absurd personality tests which ask you to rate the importance of teamwork and other such nonsense are five to ten times more effective at identifying the best candidates. Even if all they're doing is weeding out the people who aren't smart enough to lie on them. Probationary employment periods and past performance were also found to be good indicators of employment matches. So there's another reason to check a candidate's references. Even Google and other big tech companies that were known for asking particularly ridiculous questions are phasing them out now. We know, we know, you literally just came up with the perfect answer for "If you were an algorithm, what kind would you be?" Sorry. You'll have to save that for your next date.
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